California Passes New Laws on Training, Leave, Salary History Ban, Immigrant Protections

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

California Governor Brown signed a number of bills into law toward the end of the legislative session on October 15, 2017.  Most of these are effective January 1, 2018.  The following is a brief summary of some of the new laws:

Harassment Training Amendments to AB 1825.  SB 396 expands the scope of AB 1825 training to include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, along with practical examples.  Employers will also be required to post an updated poster regarding sexual harassment and transgender rights provided by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH").

Farm Labor Contractors’ Harassment Training. SB 295 requires the training to be in the language understood by the employee.

New Parent Leave Act. SB 63 expands California’s parental leave laws by requiring employers with 20 to 49 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The new law requires employers to continue the employee’s health insurance benefits while on leave.

Salary inquiries. AB 168 prohibits private and public sector employers from asking applicants about their prior salary, compensation, and benefits. Employers are also prohibited from relying on an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment, or the amount of salary to offer.

Ban-the-Box.  AB 1008 prohibits employers in California with five or more employees from asking an applicant to disclose conviction information until the applicant is made a conditional offer of employment. Employers may not include on employment applications questions about an applicant’s conviction history. Once an offer has been made, criminal history information may be obtained by the employer. Before an employer may reject an applicant based on the criminal history, the employer must conduct an individual assessment and notify the employee of its preliminary decision. The assessment must justify denying the applicant the position by drawing a relevant connection between the conviction history against the specific job duties of the position.

Immigrant Worker Protection Act. AB 450 protects workers from immigration enforcement while on the job. An employer is prohibited from voluntarily providing a federal immigration enforcement agent access to a business without a properly executed warrant. The employer is also forbidden from providing the agent access to the employee’s records without a subpoena.

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